Saturday, April 19, 2014

What's Going On With Me? Part Two

What's Going On With Me? Part Two

There's an interesting psychological dynamic that unfolds when you lose a dramatic amount of weight and then gain some of it back, or a lot of it back.  I'm convinced this dynamic is exactly what makes successfully losing again seem more difficult. Suddenly, it becomes much more than controlling our calorie budgets, exercising and paying attention to our emotional state and the accompanying triggers. Now, we must do a little more "mental work" as we do our best to get past the guilt, shame and embarrassment associated with weight gain and put our focus squarely where it's most benefiting. This dynamic is powerful no matter if you blogged about your weight loss and wrote a book or not.

I was in line at the grocery store the other day, fighting the urge to grab a dose of sugar, when a man came up behind me in line and said, "Sean Anderson, I read your book. You've gained some back."  Two things happened in that moment: 1. I immediately lost any desire to grab a Snickers bar and 2. I felt a rush of guilt, shame and embarrassment.  Now, most people operate with a better set of filters. This scenario has played out more than a few times, but usually the other person doesn't vocalize the obvious.  Even when the obvious isn't stated, I'm real good at deciding exactly what they're thinking. The silent-mental conclusion is always much more harsh and unforgiving and likely inaccurate.

How will I ultimately overcome this added obstacle? Perspective. Shifting my perspective is paramount to my success today.

Inventory time!  This is where I make a list of good and not as good, qualities...and you know what?  I'll spare you the self-indulgent list and cut to the chase: Turns out I'm a pretty decent guy. Yay for that!

I'm human. I'm real. I don't know everything. I'm always open to learning.  And the things I'm learning now are things crucial to my long term success.  I'm not saying weight gain after a dramatic loss was a good thing, but if I shift my perspective around I can clearly see where I can learn from and benefit from this experience.

As this blog moves forward, I'm going to get into more of a "diary" type mode, much like in the beginning. Less "here's what I think" and more "Here's what I did and am doing." I'm excited at the idea of getting back to the roots of this blog.  Back to a diary in the purest sense. You see, I tend to suffer from paralysis by analysis. I try to understand things from every angle, take it apart, dissect the elements, reach conclusions, maybe write about my personal philosophical conclusions and then when I struggle, it's back to the drawing board.  We can study ourselves and learn, learn, learn--the applying part is the critical step that's often times hindered by the exhaustive analysis.

Much like advice I've given a hundred times to others: It's time to stop trying to figuring everything out and just do. Just be. And be okay. And move forward.  After all, much of what I learned while losing 275 pounds, I learned along the way.  Had I stopped back then to "study" it all, I would have never experienced the initial success.

Taking better care of me is critical.  The sleep issue is my main focus and concern. My appointment Thursday with the sleep specialist resulted in a prescription for Nuvigil (thank you for the suggestion, Joe!) And some suggested "positional therapy." The bottom line was: Get fit and this will dramatically improve or become a non-issue.  I told him how even at 230 I was having serious sleep issues.  He then asked, "How fit were you at 230?"  Mmmmm... And I asked, "Are you suggesting I need muscle, work out with weights?" And he told me it could make a major difference.  Body composition is important to this issue. It certainly makes sense.  And once again I'm reminded of the awesome responsibility I have in taking better care.  It's all up to me. I've understood this for awhile, cementing in my mind during the initial weight loss. It's interesting how another issue comes along and it becomes convenient to overlook this part. It is up to me.  I can dramatically improve my life.  Basically, I can choose change before change chooses me.  Yes, it all comes back to this very real truth.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Thank you for reading,


  1. Good for you!! I'm sorry you're struggling with a regain but that let's those of us who have suffered the same thing know that you are human and you're loss was not as simple as it might have seemed. Thanks for being open and honest. I believe that helps you and those of us who support you.

  2. Hi. Hope you have a great weekend too! The man behind you was rude. My goal is to try to be kind. Hugs and God Bless you on your new journey. :)

  3. Some people might not understand what it means to start from a higher start number than most. You (as I did) had a longer journey, had a lot of learning to do, a lot of inner changing to do. And it's not always just a simple straight line "down". There can be zig zags along the way. That's not failure, it's just part of the journey, the learning process. I think unrealistic TV shows mislead people into unrealistic expectations. Oh yeah, we don't PLAN to go on a detour. But it's just the reality that sometimes we discover we still have some things to figure out and adjust.

    Sorry to go on with my own analyzing and philosofizing. Just wanted to encourage you that I think you are doing fantastic, and I don't see your current situation as anything to feel shameful about at all. Really! You confronted it, you are addressing it, and I'm proud of you, fellow traveler to Health.

  4. Sea, I may not have written a book but I have had similar experiences from friends/family when I gained during all my yo-yo dieting attempts. I never could turn those comments into positive determination, good for you!

  5. it's all inner work. Don't let the weight loss fool you.

  6. Hi Sean, Maybe this cycle, you will get fit! I cannot express to you how fun weightlifting is until you really jump into it and then embrace it. Then it's as yummy as chocolate--so wonderful! I hope you can experience that too!!!

  7. Hi Sean. As someone who has followed you from the beginning I know how difficult it is to go through what you are. In 2012 I lost 140 lbs and was feeling so much better. I was off my diabetic meds, sleeping better and going out and seeing people I hadn't seen in a while. Then in 2013 events in my life stressed me out and yes, I'm a stress eater. I gained back 100 lbs and it didn't take long. In December 2013 with my health declining again it was that moment where I use my Shawshank Redemption line, "Time to get busy living or busy dying." So once again I had to embark on my weight loss journey, much as you have. It's so much more difficult the 2nd, 3rd or ??? time to lose. But I know I have to and yes, as you, I had to learn from my mistakes I made in gaining back the weight. Just know that many of us are in the same boat and we are doing it again too and hopefully learning from our mistakes. Hang in there and we'll make it.

  8. you've got this


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